Many foodies dream of turning their passion for food into a profitable business. But crafting cutting-edge cuisine, serving up lattes with jaw-dropping foam art, or reinventing the dining experience will require much more than passion — it will require grit, perseverance, and hardcore motivation. But what does it really take to run a restaurant?
Gain experience working for someone else in the restaurant industry.
Though not all successful restaurant owners started out by working for someone else in the industry, we can safely assume that most did. Why make mistakes with your own business that you can avoid simply by watching someone else make them — or by heeding their wise warnings? Working for someone else will not only help you avoid common mistakes when starting your own business, but also answer a lot of questions you might have otherwise. If you want to make it in the restaurant business, learn from the mistakes of others.
The devil’s in the details.
What distinguishes a memorable dining experience from every other? The details that make a restaurant different — like unique interior design, exceptional food presentation, lighting, and service — can make a lasting impression that will build a base of loyal customers and organically spread the word about your business. Remember, the smallest details reflect your brand.
Talk to your critics.
Every guest will have something to say about the food, the service, and their overall experience. Unfortunately, it’s impossible to make every customer happy. Negative online reviews do make an impact on a restaurant’s public image and should not be ignored. Owners or management need to take the time to respond to every negative review, and even every positive review if possible, to demonstrate a genuine interest in customer satisfaction. You’ll need to show a willingness to do whatever it takes to maintain customer loyalty and attract first-time customers.
Sleep and time-off will become a luxury.
Say goodbye to your “9-5 day job” or even your “11-10” restaurant job. As a restaurant owner, you’ll be working hours before and after the restaurant’s opening and closing times. When you’re not on location, you’ll be managing finances, attending expos, searching for appliances, and checking restaurant cameras. When on location, you’ll be searching for employees, training staff, speaking to customers, running quality control tests, checking inventory levels, inspecting and maintaining equipment, and washing dishes if the dishwasher calls off.
Plan your exit.
No doubt you’ll start out excited to finally have your restaurant dreams come true. But it’s also important to think about where you’ll want to be in 10, 15, 25 years from now and how long you’d like to own and manage a restaurant business. Whether the business does well and receives an offer to sell, or does poorly and needs to be closed down, every restaurant owner needs to consider what they will do in each case and plan ahead.
If these 5 points have not deterred you from starting your own restaurant business, you just might have what it takes to turn that passion into a business. Kohn-Megibow Company is here to help you with finding appliances once you’re ready for the big leap!